On the eve of his visit to Russia for talks with Vladimir Putin the President of Bolivia, Evo Morales, said about the huge interest in Russian arms supplies. Before the army of the country was a client of Washington, but now wants to shift to Moscow – and the sooner, the better. But why the rush? Who gas-rich Bolivia suddenly going to fight?
“Yes, particularly the statement from the air force, there is a big interest in purchasing Russian military equipment… There’s the joint Commission, which works, and we hope that this technology transfer will bring good results,” said Morales, answering the question.
After three and a half years after the sensational election of the President of Bolivia Morales of the ultraleft antiimperialista between Moscow and La Paz signed an intergovernmental agreement on military-technical cooperation. Six months later, Vladimir Putin (then Prime Minister) in negotiations with the Bolivian Venezuelan leader in Caracas agreed to provide the country a loan of 100 million dollars for the purchase of Russian machinery and equipment. After five years, Bolivia was first visited by high-ranking Russian military delegation in order to discuss the possible participation of Moscow in the rearmament of the national army.
However, on the conclusion of specific contracts for the supply of Russian weapons has still not been reported. Like La Paz was very much needed our helicopters, but in the end, the helicopters purchased from China. Maybe go for specific positions and numbers of the parties will be able after Morales’s state visit to Moscow, scheduled for July 11. That meter meet the Bolivian President said optimistically that Russia is the guarantor of the US interference in the Affairs of any country in the world.
In fact, due to complicated relations with the U.S. Morales and is interested in buying Russian military equipment.
Bolivia has a rich history of military failures. At the time of its creation, this country occupied a much larger area than it now occupies. The rejection of a number of its territories – a consequence of lost wars, of which we need to distinguish three: Checkou the war with Paraguay 1932-1935 years, the war of acre Brazil 1899-1903 years and – especially – the so-called War of the guano and nitrate with Chile in 1879-1883 years.
Despite the military Alliance of Bolivia and Peru with support from the United States, patronized by the British, the Chileans, the Bolivians struck a telling blow, annexing its Western provinces and thereby depriving access to the sea. It is still the most pressing issue of bilateral relations: for many years, La Paz was hoping that Santiago will give him a little stretch of coastline for the construction of the port, but those hopes finally collapsed before the election of Morales, which resulted in thousands antichrista demonstrations.
By the way, despite being landlocked Bolivia has a Navy, based at lake Titicaca. In addition, a small area for the same port agreed to lease long-term lease still friendly Peru, but, from the standpoint of the violated Bolivian pride, “the sand is not a good replacement for the oats.”
The relations of Bolivia with Brazil are determined primarily by the fact that Brazil is the main trading partner of Bolivia. However, they strongly depend on the personalities of the two leaders. In Morales, for example, relations deteriorated sharply because of the threat of nationalisation of Brazilian assets.
And only in the case of Paraguay all the differences seem to be left in the past: Treaty on the final settlement of the state border was signed just under Morales.
Whatever it was, to fight Bolivia is not going – neither Chile nor Brazil, nor – especially – the USA, which for many years was the main (in some periods the only) supplier that supplied the Bolivian army. This situation changed dramatically with the arrival of Morales to power. For Latin America the United States is a symbol of colonialism, and personally Morales as his teacher thinks of Fidel Castro. As President, he nationalized the country’s natural resources, canceled the contracts of a number of Western companies on their prey, and in 2008, and even expelled the U.S. Ambassador.
Of course, the Americans could not like it, but another big blow to relations of the former allies was the position of the Bolivian leader on the issue of Coca cultivation is the traditional occupation of the Indian people Aymara belongs to Morales himself. It is from the Coca used to produce cocaine, but Bolivia is thought to be the second largest supplier of the drug on the world market (after Colombia).
For its part, the US is not just patronizing the global fight against drug trafficking – that they have it at the time, and came up, pushing through legislation via the UN (it was then, under Khrushchev, the USSR was forbidden drugs under Stalin, such laws were not). And in the zone of special attention is the cocaine – with the countries where Coca is grown, U.S. law enforcement agencies trying to interact as tightly as possible.
The position of Morales, he stated: “Coca Yes, cocaine no.” Then suspended in the country the activities of the U.S. office of drug control, putting his staff on the way out. In his view, the main concern of Americans on Bolivian territory is not a war against drug trafficking, and “the continuation of colonial policy”, and employees of a specific Department – the CIA, the purpose of which is to seize the natural wealth of the country.
Bolivia is truly rich in resources. That is, the country is very poor – one of the poorest in the Western hemisphere, but its natural gas reserves – the second on the continent (after the Venezuelan). To realize this potential are hampered by the same lack of access to the sea
Most interesting is that the Americans gave in, and ultimately went with the La Paz agreement in the field of fight against drug trafficking. About the same was signed and unfriendly Brazil, but what to do: for Bolivia the drug trade is a well recognized problem. The Indians the Indians, but the terror from the drug cartels that control hard-to-reach areas and created a kind of “state within a state”, has not been canceled.
Russian weapons need La-Pasu for this – for the confrontation with the drug cartels. Hence the special interest of the air force, mentioned by Morales. For reconnaissance and patrols, the air force of Bolivia has been using American obsolete training aircraft T-33 Shooting Star, now they are written off, and to replace them must come something else, it is not excluded that the Russian.
However, the potential of the Russian-Bolivian military contracts only one support for the fight against cocaine is not limited. The Republic has a program for rearmament of the army by 2025, when it will celebrate the bicentennial of liberation from the domination of the Spaniards. Some of the generals in favour of the purchase of weapons where ever purchased before – in the US, but Morales is opposed to it for ideological reasons.
It should be understood that even in case of signing of contracts of real money we will not see for a long time – their Bolivia just yet. But there is a natural gas. Although a major expansion of cooperation between La Paz and Gazprom in recent years (and we are talking about billions of dollars of investment) technically has nothing to do with weapons, the relationship between them is still there. In the modern world of international trade both gas and arms – it is a question of economy and policy that are decided at the relevant level. What Bolivia wants to be a friend to us, is a defining moment, and the system of offsets will somehow agree.